Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Little Girl is TWO.


Nora had a fabulous second birthday party.

It was only nine days later than her actual birthday, but we gathered every family member we could within 200 miles, so that was a good thing.

She got a fabulous new red wagon from Aunt Judy, Uncle Jeff and Bestema, a number of toys, books, dolls and bling.

Oh, and Mr. Potatohead is the HIT of the small toys division...if awards were to go out for the best gift -- simply because she recognized him from Toy Story and thought she was getting The Real Thing.

And best of all, we got to spend the afternoon with lots of family and friends.

Thanks to everyone who made it!

Old Memories

Amongst the many photos I've been going through, I came across this picture of a couple who clearly is family, but who I don't know really at all. I'm hoping by posting it that my Mom or someone else might recognize this glam couple from the 1920s.

I know it's not my Grandma, who married in about 1927 or 1928, because I have a photo of her in her beautiful '20s bob hairstyle, without the Joe Kennedy round glasses...
And amongst the memorabilia is a favorite picture of me with my Daddy.

It's hard to believe that this month he's been gone 17 whole years. I was 25 when he died, but in this picture I see his youth and strength, and my adoration for my papa.
Dad was a great guy...I know I talk about him now and then, but you really have to understand that while my Dad wasn't perfect, he worked HARD to be a good Dad.

His own father was quite absent, and in many ways his Mom was too. They worked hard to get through The Depression, and when that was over, Dad was headed out into the world himself.

Despite his cold parentage of the "Be seen and not heard" generation, my own father and mother chose to raise their kids in a much more loving environment. While my Mom was much better nurtured, she also had things to learn about how to be "real" in front of her kids when her own parents were not.

Both were prime examples of being better than their previous generations in their own way.

We can only hope to aim for the same goal as parents, yes?

Yes...

And amongst the memories is this last picture of me where a school picture turned out well.

The next year I was growing out my bangs, and I hairsprayed my bangs back in some sort of Farrah Fawcette wing job that didn't turn out well at all, and by the next year I was in the throes of adolescence, complete with glasses and a bad perm.

And while we're scanning a few photos, I got a bang out of this one. Three out of four people in this photo appear to want to kill not me, but the photo taker, who HAD to be my father, the family photographer.

Me the toddler: gleeful.

The rest: homicidal.

'nuff said.

And in the midst of my scanning and copying and saving photos, I found this picture of Hannah (left) and Nora (right), and put them side by side for no other reason than being able to compare the two. I don't have a picture of Miriam from about the same age or I'd do that too. But in all reality, Nora seems to have a lot of Hannah's traits and looks. The way she bounces around the yard is so similar to Hannah's phase of running positively EVERYWHERE as a toddler and small child, it's almost freaky! But I guess with only four sets of genes (Hannah and Nora are double cousins since BOTH sets of parents come from the same two families) -- well suffice to say it's no surprise.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Daddy's Home!

Nora and I spent the last week in Sacramento, visiting my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Richard (Kathy is my Mom's younger sister).

We had LOTS of fun, with a trip to a train museum (Nora's obsessed with choo-choo's, most of all Thomas & Friends), and time to meet her second cousins, known as "the tribe".

Nora was a CHAMP at traveling. She really did great in the car. We split up the drive over two days coming and going, with stops in Northern California on the way down and Southern Oregon on the way back, with a short drive the second day. Fortunately, we came back the same day that Brian came home from a long week on Steens Mountain in Southeastern Nowhere Oregon.

Nora was THRILLED to see her daddy, as you can imagine.
She flew through the house when I said he was home, and was elated to see her papa.

It's good to have everyone together again! I'll post some more pictures in the next few days. Saturday is Nora's 2nd birthday party (a little late, due to wanting to get everyone in the same place that we could), and we're going to have a good crowd for that!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sacramento

Nora and I have headed to Sacramento with Bestema for this week!

We're visiting Aunt Kathy and Uncle Richard mostly, but also took a side trip on Saturday to see Aunt Sarah, Uncle Peter and cousin Odette in Berkeley and a trip to the Oakland Zoo!
We've had a ton of fun, and the Oakland Zoo was fantastic, once I GOT there...I drove through a bad part of Oakland (got off to a wrong freeway, then tried to get back), and my Uncle Richard said "Well, the bad part of Oakland is most of it." Too true, I suspect.

But the ZOO was fun! And afterwards we went to Peter, Sarah & Odette's, saw their apartment and hung out in the Cal Berkeley neighborhood, where I even got some Brazilian food!

We'll be back next week in time for Nora's birthday party on Saturday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Words from a CNN columnist:

The GOP would do well to remember the warning of Maine Republican Margaret Chase Smith, who worried in 1950 that her party was trying to achieve victory on "the Four Horsemen of Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear."

Cute Picture of the Day

We just got back Saturday afternoon from Denver -- and this picture is by far my favorite so far of the ones I've been through.

We took about 700 pictures in all. You'd think we didn't do much else, but we managed to squeeze in a trip to the zoo, the ballpark, several friends' back yards, the Butterfly Pavillion, the aquarium, and a few trips to the park. We saw a few new babies from Delois' 3-month old to the newbie twins of Scott and Laura.

Nora and I both caught colds there -- but considering how many kids we were around, I guess that's no surprise. We're on the mend though, and doing well, and hopefully we didn't pass anything along to anyone.

I'll blog as much as I can in the next couple of days so we can share lots of pictures!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Ethan, Ethan, Ethan...

This week, Brian, Nora and I all flew to Denver for Brian's annual draft for his HIL Football League, and a week of precious vacation time!

Our friends Jim and Jenny drove up from Albuquerque this weekend to spend with us, and we met our friends Meg (with sons, Ethan & Reid), and Susan (far left in this picture) with her husband Doug, an old friend of Brian's from Greeley, and their three kids, Louis, Kady and Sam.

All the gals you see in this first picture have all been through a lot to have their babies, and we all appreciate the ones we have so very much. It was incredible to see my friends play with Nora -- as she took to Jenny and Ethan especially (more on THAT little match later!).

Not all are done trying, and yet we got our kids that we do have together and enjoyed a day at The Denver Zoo.


Ethan, who is five, decided to take it upon himself to help Nora find her way through the zoo.

Of course initially I was THRILLED that SOMEBODY, even if it is a kindergartener, could corral Miss Nora and get her to walk in the direction the group was going in...

At one point, Ethan and Nora even gave each other a big hug. It didn't take long before Brian noticed the attention Ethan was giving Nora...






And at some point (after about an hour of watching Nora dump Mommy's hand in favor of reattaching herself to Ethan) Brian quipped "This better not go on too much longer or I'm going to have to kill him." LOL

Nora squeezed between Louis and Ethan for the mini-train ride through the zoo. Ethan even put his arm around Nora during the ride. It was just a hoot!

After the train ride we had lunch in the park, and Brian and I headed out to see Scott & Laura's new twins.

What a great day!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Nora Gets Some Quality Time With Uncle JOEL!


Not to sure about the crazy Uncle that showed up...Boy, howdy, he's a funny one.

On one hand, he's weird. Peterson weird.

On the other hand, he backed off and let me have my space. That's so not like them...

But Mommy seemed to like him, and he WAS fun to be around....

We went to the kids club and he seemed to like the Kids Club "PUPPY" as much as me...

In fact, his acting skills were SO good, you'd think he had some professional training...
And we went to the park and he hung out and played with me...Boy, he is fun to be around. I even learned how to say "JOE!"


But ultimately, it was the book reading to me that did me in...

Thank you Uncle Joel, for spending so much time with me!

We all love you, and have fun at Joelapalooza!!!

REWARD!

I know several of you have probably seen these pictures on Facebook, but I have to blog them too -- Facebook, after all, will never be Nora's "scrap book" in the same way that this blog will be.

But after so many days without blogging, I figured I had better blog a bunch of stuff at once before we start our September travels, and I wanted to make sure to get in our recent photo shoot at Bush's Pasture Park and Deep Wood Estate.
My friend Priscilla from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) takes photos, including these semi-professional ones taken in the park, with a donation to the local MOPS group she's started for Teens.
We weren't able to get the best shot with Nora looking at the camera and in perfect focus, so we rounded out the donation Oma made to Nora's pictures for her second birthday with a studio sitting as well, but all in all, we spent the same money and ended up with some really great family photos in a more natural setting, along with a few cute studio shots.
The neat thing about it to me was getting Nora out into a more natural setting, where she just learned how to "smell" flowers (she exhales on them instead of inhaling, but hey...she's not two yet!) and run around and be her cute self.
Somewhere in this bunch we scored a neat picture of her with Bestema too, who came along and quickly earned the title of "sherpa" as she helped us carry the various pieces of things so we could be hands-free and in the picture.
This last picture is my favorite, since it's of all three of us. While Nora could have been smiling, I am just happy to see her looking somewhere near the camera and even if she isn't grinning ear to ear, it's a good picture of all of us, including her in a more serious pose!

Yes, Sometimes Chasing Nora Is Like Trying to Harness The Wind

I've heard a few people whisper or outright say "Payback" when they refer to Nora and her CONSTANT motion these days.

Mostly my Mom, of course, who thinks it's a hoot and a half to watch me chase Nora around.

The poor photographer who took this picture was overwhelmed with Nora's lack of, ahem -- participation -- in the photographic process.

As they say in the photographic business, "two is the worst".

But really? It's the BEST.

Yes, every day with Miss Nora is a challenge to make sure she gets to the end of it without the need to slap on a Band-Aid or worse, see a doc for stitches (((KNOCK ON WOOD))).

But seriously, we feel lucky to have this girl, who required not one but TWO photographers to get her attention and hold it long enough to snap a very few photos to choose from for our 2-year-old pictures.

In the end, we got a couple of good poses to choose from -- including this last one, where Brian noted that her right thumb is clearly WHITE because she's clenching the floor and preparing to leap back into action!

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